The best seaside resorts on the coast of Languedoc-Roussillon which you should visit.
So, did you know that France have more beautiful seaside resorts in the South of France which are actually not located in their famous Côte d’Azur? Yes, I discovered few of them on the coast of Languedoc-Roussillon. Actually, I have visited exactly 3 of them and deliberately refused to go to one other. I am sure there are many more seaside spots in the Languedoc-Roussillon region but let me tell you a bit about the ones I have visited and the one I left behind!
So, being limited with time I have carefully chosen to visit Grau du Roi and Palavas les Flots and Saintes Maries de la Mer. I refused to go to La Grande-Motte which was so nearby but I had my reasons and I also will tell you why.
But lets start with the first of the list so Le Grau-du-Roi. So it is also located in the Gard department between Aigues-Mortes and La Grande-Motte. There is also my beloved Camargue region spreading to the east and surrendering the town.
Le Grau-du-Roi is a specific seaside resort as the town itself is based around the canal. It is surrounded by the sea to the south and waterways (small rivers and a lagoon) to most other sides. It is cosy, small and charming with an original city centre to explore. The things worth visiting at Le Grau-de-Roi are mainly the fishing harbour and the canal front and of course the extensive beach, amazing sea and wonderful view!
Because of the central canal called the Chenal Maritime, the town is divided in two. There are some shops, restaurants and bars as well as kind of spanish-style church and ‘Maison du Dauphin’ located in the town. The canal divided Le Grau-du-Roi into the Rive Droite and the Rive Gauche. The first one with its beaches and the fishing harbour is on an inlet from the canal. The second one is accompanied with the its own beaches (among which the most popular is Seaquarium) and the large Marina of Le-Grau-du-Roi called Port Camargue. Seaquarium is actually one the most popular attraction at Le Grau-de-Roi . It is a a place where you can see a many types of fish, sea creatures, seals and rayfish. In the requinarium you can also learn about sharks and see 25 different species of the shark itself. I haven’t been there but I think I would enjoy it. There are two piers which meet the sea and at the end of each of these is a lighthouse.
As I mentioned there is a wonderful views of the sea and the La Grand-Motte – another very famous seaside resort which I decided not to visit. And why is that? Well, as per a seaside resort which I associate with relaxing, calming, cosy, lazy atmosphere, the distinctive style of architecture La Grand-Motte which overwhelms the town, it simply hasn’t applied to me at all. For me – La Grand-Motte looked more like a busy big city, full of big (beautiful) buildings. La Grand – Motte represents one of the most impressive and distinctive developments along this coast. It consists mainly of very easily identifiable 1970’s style hotels and buildings, many featuring the shapes and colours that were popular in designs at that time. There is of course the beach and around there is an extensive port area but the seaside spirit just disappearing among the the buildings. It is very popular among tourists as they are attracted by the unique architecture. I wanted to escape from the busy life and so I did and this is why I haven’t been to La Grand – Motte.
But, carry on with my seaside adventure of mine, I was happy to see La Grand – Motte from the pier 😉 in Le Grau-du-Roi and another beautiful seaside resort which I visited later on – The Palavas-les-Flots. And coming back to Le Grau-du-Roi.
The things I liked the most about the city were for sure: the sea!, wide sandy beach, shelves to collect, sun (not the wind!), free parking slots, some (not too many shops- great balance), the idea of the canal and 2 parts of the town to explore, view and the piers, in front of which there was amazing statue of the women and a girl!
But what I LOVED about Le Grau-du-Roi was actually the driving up to the place…why? Because on our way there, we passed (and stopped for a moment )at the the Etangs where we have spotted the lovely pink flamingos. Indeed the Camargue is the only place outside of Africa where you can see such large quantities of these colourful birds. And I did! This was the best surprised for me, I loved flamingos. Firstly, I didn’t expected them in France, secondly not in February. But here they are – plenty of them gathered in the waters and showing off and posing for the photos I was taking;-)
So once I felt in love with the flamingos, we decided to carry our holidays and visit some of the Park Resorts of Camarque. One of them was located on the way to our second seaside resort – Saintes Maries de la Mer a few kilometers east of Le-Grau-du-Roi.
So once I simply was the happiest every being by the seaside in winter, still sunny & warm and beautiful, we decided to visit another one and this time we wanted to try and get the sunset experience! We went to Palavas-les-Flots which is also nearby but actually located in the Herault department, just 6 kilometres south of Montpellier, in the south of France. And here it comes…my evening in the Palavas-les-Flots experience to come in the next post…